I hadn’t heard of Kate Spade at all. Anthony Bourdain I vaguely knew made television, the vaguely giving the clue I have never watched an episode of his work.
I remember well my first visit to Mona – the walk down the steps to the tennis court and across to the underground temple of sex and death. I was quite gobsmacked by it all and only outraged in minimal doses. It was and is fantastic.
I had my camera with me and I quickly became fascinated, even before I stepped in the door, snapping away furiously. Surrounding the ingress was a mirrored wall, reflecting the souls standing in front of it, but, more spectacularly, giving a reverse view of the houses of Glenorchy, founder David Walsh’s birthplace. He has given back to that bogan-burb in spades, as well as to the city beyond. I had never given that feature, though, much credit as to its thoughtfulness of positioning and its genesis. It is a very clever, well-done thing and had I really considered it, an art work in itself. The man behind it took his own life, at the age of 53, earlier this year.
You can read of some of his achievements in Gabriella Coslovich’s following article, including about his last installation, a symbolic land bridge connecting Victoria to this island.
His public works are spread out across the nation and he had gifted his attention to overseas countries as well, often combining a commission with teaching local wannabe sculptors and stone masons. Receiving his talent included Florida in the US, Zimbabwe and Cambodia. His thirty-plus years of artistic endeavour were soundly based on skills picked up from his Dad as a child. John, a builder, loved crafting wood, especially for marine craft. Matthew Harding underwent training for his artistic future in Canberra and lived there throughout his career. As well as wood and stone, he also fashioned stainless steel.
Harding is deserved to be wider known – as widely as some of his eye-catching, for better or worse, product. Coslovich reports he did struggle at times financially, but I’ve no idea as to why he took the courageous step to end it all. I know there are some who bleat their opinion that suicide is the coward’s way. Maybe doing that horrendous deed is a result of an unwillingness to confront whatever demons is bringing the victim undone, but even in despair, it still takes courage. And I can’t imagine a person taking that step, allowing for state of mind, not considering those left behind.
But yes, what of Matthew Harding’s children – Arabella (10), Lulu (9), Polly (6) and Hugo (4)?
Matthew Harding’s website = http://matthewharding.com.au/
Gabriella Coslovich’s article = https://www.smh.com.au/opinion/m31columnist-20180302-h0wxl8.html